Broadway's Lyceum Theatre is the place, but the big-name actors who'll appear there in the January 1999 revival of Emlyn Williams' thriller, Night Must Fall, presented by the National Actors Theatre, haven't completely come into the light.
Variety reported Oct. 21 that Matthew Broderick (long speculated) and British actress Judy Parfitt were sure things for the drama, about a matron who takes a suspected killer under her wing. But the production's general manager, Fred Walker, told Playbill On-Line that Parfitt (of TV's "The Jewel in the Crown") and film actor Broderick (also of Broadway's How to Succeed...) were only "90 percent" signed and are still in "final negotiations" for the staging.
Walker did confirm the Lyceum booking, beginning previews Jan. 26, 1999 for a Feb. 15 opening, through early April 1999. John Tillinger (Broadway's Getting and Spending and Sunshine Boys) is set to direct.
After a London staging in 1935, Night Must Fall premiered at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1936. Director-playwright Williams also played the lead role of Dan, a bellboy in a resort town hired as a servant by Mrs. Bramson (the Parfitt role). Mrs. Bramson's niece is suspicious of Dan following a murder.
Other plays by (George) Emlyn Williams include The Corn is Green and The Druid's Rest. A 1937 film version of Night Must Fall starred Rosalind Russell. *
Tony Randall has singlemindedly and tirelessly boosted the nonprofit NAT, which he founded in the early 1990s as a way of getting the finest contemporary actors to perform seldom-seen classics and stretch their acting muscles.
Some of the productions have been successful, including a recent Randall-Jack Klugman teaming on The Sunshine Boys, and Brian Bedford in Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. But the company has struggled. A lauded 1996 revival of Inherit the Wind with George C. Scott and Charles Durning closed prematurely when Scott developed problems with his health and personal life. Randall understudied his part.
NAT's recent revival of The Gin Game performed to half-full houses despite the presence of Durning and Julie Harris. Nevertheless, Gin Game is touring nationally with Durning and Harris, starting Oct. 27 in Raleigh-Durham NC. The show will then travel to a dozen cities through spring 1999.